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Old 21-08-2016, 13:46   #1
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Sail cover

I need a new sail cover. Do you think that I should (1) have someone come and measure my boat and then make it or (2) measure it myself and order it online? What's your experience?

Any other words of wisdon would be appreciated.

Marcus
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Old 21-08-2016, 14:02   #2
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Re: Sail cover

Depends......how well can you operate a tape measure?


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Old 21-08-2016, 14:30   #3
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Re: Sail cover

Buy a 100$ sewing machine and some acrylic canvas and make it yourself. Pocket the 500$ difference.

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Old 21-08-2016, 14:36   #4
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Re: Sail cover

mlibkind, what kind and size boat do you have? If it is a smaller, older production boat and you aren't too choosy about the quality or fit buying one online may be cheaper. If you want a quality job that will look good and be functional for years have one made by a local canvas shop. Have them measure so if there are any issues with fit they can't blame you for measuring incorrectly.


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Old 21-08-2016, 14:49   #5
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Re: Sail cover

mlibikind,

Well, depends on the difficulty of making your own. If it is a small, old fashioned boat, making your own is a piece of cake once you've got the measurements. If you have a boom bag with lazy jacks, it is more difficult, but still manageable with a good old (all metal inside) sewing machine, as barnakiel suggested.

Anywhere in canvas work that you use a zipper, make sure it has a flap that totally covers it (the UV degrades the plastic teeth of the zip.)

Jim and I just finished the bag with lazy jacks, for our 19 ft. boom. The most difficult part of it was finding somewhere flat to lay out that much fabric, because we do not have a land base, and the main sail is pretty large. (Long term liveaboard cruisers.) The cowl for the front of it is the next project.

To me, it depends entirely on whether you're the type of person that will take satisfaction from doing it yourself. If so, then start down that road. There is satisfaction in doing it all (all your canvas work) for yourself. Also, SailRite sells kits for doing a boom bag. If you want perfection and it is not your schtick to do it yourself, then hire the canvas worker to do the measuring, the design, and sewing. This eliminates arguments about measuring errors.

If you specify Tenara thread, the whole lot should last over 10 years. Actually, if you use the royal blue acrylic canvas, it'll go 20 yrs. Amazing stuff. But the Tenara (or any other ptfe) thread will last over 10 yrs. It was still in excellent condition on our old boom bag after 13 yrs. It takes very careful tension adjustment to work properly. That said, people are using it, because the V-92 dacron thread usually used lasts only about 4 or 5 years, and the labor's in the stitching.

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Old 21-08-2016, 17:31   #6
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Re: Sail cover

Thank you for the constructive comments.

I own a 2011 Elan 444. It is a European boat and there are few in the US so it is unlikely that anyone has the dimensions for a standard sail cover. But that doesn't really matter because I changed the cars and now the stack is much greater.

This is way too big of a job for me to tackle given that I live in CA and my boat is in NC. I have a couple of months to do maintenance and some upgrades (hiring most of it out), so I think that I will have someone measure it.

The one recurrent comment I heard was that hiring a local person to do the work puts the burden on them to do the measuring. That seems like a good reason for going that way. I will ask at the shop where they are going to repair my bimini and dodger that were damaged in a two day storm while approaching NC.

Thank you for your thoughts.

Marcus
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Old 21-08-2016, 17:36   #7
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Re: Sail cover

I wouldn't hesitate to buy one on line if the savings are big enough. I like a BIG mainsail cover. Often the "custom made by the local guy" ones are tight fitting. I have discovered over time that loose is a good thing.... including around the boom. 6" of slack hanging below the boom is good thing if you ask me.
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Old 21-08-2016, 17:39   #8
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Re: Sail cover

A sail cover from a loft shouldn't be more than 30.00 per foot of boom length. Not sure where the 500.00 number quoted above is coming from. Don't waste your time doing this yourself.
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Old 21-08-2016, 17:44   #9
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Re: Sail cover

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grant Gordon View Post
A sail cover from a loft shouldn't be more than 30.00 per foot of boom length. Not sure where the 500.00 number quoted above is coming from. Don't waste your time doing this yourself.
$30 x 15 ft = $450
local tax= $37
Still it doesn't get to the $600 in question, but a lotta bucks for covering something.
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Old 21-08-2016, 18:30   #10
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Re: Sail cover

[QUOTE=mlibkind;2194310]I What's your experience?


I measured it myself and brought the measurements home to the US. I got some discount Sunbrella on Ebay and made a new one with some regular polyester thread, really cheap. On the way back to the boat my luggage was stolen... This year I have purchased some first run Sunbrella and a spool of Tenara thread, really expensive. I see a good side to this, I already know how to do it.
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Old 21-08-2016, 18:36   #11
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Re: Sail cover

You bring up a very good point. If I do a wonderful job of flaking the sail and then measure it, in the real world it will not always be that nice and the fit too tight. This is the type of comments I was looking for. Thank you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
I wouldn't hesitate to buy one on line if the savings are big enough. I like a BIG mainsail cover. Often the "custom made by the local guy" ones are tight fitting. I have discovered over time that loose is a good thing.... including around the boom. 6" of slack hanging below the boom is good thing if you ask me.
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Old 22-08-2016, 18:57   #12
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Re: Sail cover

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
$30 x 15 ft = $450
local tax= $37
Still it doesn't get to the $600 in question, but a lotta bucks for covering something.
True that. But 100.00 for a sewing machine, plus 7 yards of Sunbrella at around 30.00 per yard, plus zippers, plus fasteners, etc etc. In the end you save 200.00 for X hours of labour. And hopefully it all goes well on the first try.

I work in a loft and I see a lot of guys try to save 100.00 by doing it themselves and at the end of the week, they have saved that 100.00 but have lost a week of good sailing.
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Old 22-08-2016, 19:24   #13
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Re: Sail cover

Grant, you're right.

For an amateur, depending on the size of the boat, it can be a huge learning experience, and lots of people would rather spend the time sailing and not worry about the expense.

However, speaking only for myself, who no one pays for her time, I am pleased we did it, and the new one is looking a lot better than the old one had become.

The OP wants it made, good on him. He will have more time to play. Excellent! :-)
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Old 23-08-2016, 07:41   #14
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Re: Sail cover

But the canvas is only about 100$ and can be done on a sub 100$ machine which can be then sold for likely more than 50$, still boxed.

So let's say there is about 200$ raw worth in it, the rest is the workmanship, the taxes, the overheads, etc.

I think it is OK to pay 600 for something that I can build myself for 200. It is always good to have many rather than few options.

If I were building commercially, this would actually be around 600 per 45'.

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Old 23-08-2016, 07:47   #15
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Re: Sail cover

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Originally Posted by mlibkind View Post
I need a new sail cover. Do you think that I should (1) have someone come and measure my boat and then make it or (2) measure it myself and order it online? What's your experience?

Any other words of wisdon would be appreciated.

Marcus
You say you need a NEW one......use the old one as a template.
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